The Town of Lake Lure wants to ensure its greatest asset – its lake – thrives for future generations of residents, business owners, and visitors in the Hickory Nut Gorge of North Carolina. Although its dam has performed well over its service life, the town’s council engaged Schnabel to perform an existing conditions assessment of the 120-ft tall, nearly 100-year-old high-hazard dam with a 95-square mile drainage area.

Classified as high hazard according to today’s safety requirements, not its condition, Lake Lure Dam is a concrete multiple-arch buttress dam. Buttress walls separate its 10 interior bays, and a gravity section on the left abutment contains three radial Tainter spillway gates and one radial trash gate.

Our existing conditions evaluation included a detailed visual inspection, an underwater dive investigation of the upstream face, topographic and bathymetric surveys, geologic mapping of exposed rock, hydrologic and hydraulic analyses, finite element modeling stability analyses, scour analyses, and other related activities. The results of our assessment were subsequently used to develop rehabilitation alternatives for the dam and its related structures to meet NC Dam Safety requirements.

Additionally, we developed the inflow design flood for the dam to evaluate spillway capacity, to revise the gate operations plan for the project, and to perform dam breach analyses and inundation mapping for an Emergency Action Plan (EAP).

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